I have never written a horror story but, if I did, I imagine it would sound a little like this:
On a tree-lined Main Street in a quiet, small town stands an old Victorian house. The paint shows chips of imperfections but the bones of the house are beautifully alive with grand details. The trees that surround the house, their large branches brushing up against the windows and front porch, have stood the test of time. In the summer the leaves cloak the house in secrecy and in the winter the empty hollow branches embrace the house like a corpse holding onto life.
I drive by this house everyday and never before noticed that on the front porch sat an old freezer. Perhaps the trees had blocked its view. That’s an odd addition to a front porch, I thought to myself, and then my mind traveled to Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Purloined Letter.” It is a tale of a sensitive piece of missing information. The authorities looked everywhere for it. Ultimately, it was found hiding in plain sight in the middle of the desk where no one looked. And with that thought I wondered what could be hiding in plain sight in an old freezer on an old home’s porch, in an old, quiet town?
Yes, if I were to write a horror story that is how I would start it. And while this may not be a horror story to everyone, it is a true story.
While eating at our favorite Thai Restaurant my husband and I had just ordered our food when in walked a couple we have known for years. They, like us, are foodies, meaning they love food and know what constitutes a good meal. We immediately started talking about the food and how good it was. We even ordered more food based on their recommendation. Everything was delicious and they teased us about how often they ate there. In fact, the dish they recommended was something they helped to create, a fact they were very proud of.
As we dined, we talked and the more we talked the more food was the topic of conversation. They said they eat out often and named the restaurants and meals that had their seal of approval. When not dining out they had meals delivered by a boxed meal service that delivers complete, uncooked meals that you assemble and cook according to the directions that are included. Based on their love of food I know it had to be a good food service and was thinking maybe we should try it.
It was wonderful to spend this impromptu time with them and their food suggestions were spot on. We ate far too much, probably due to how delicious the food was, but also because the conversation was so enjoyable.
As we all got up to leave there was still one more story they wanted to share and it goes like this.
It was a cold and rainy night when they came upon their old cat, lying lifeless on the floor. It was too damp and dark to dig a hole and give the poor thing a proper burial, so on this late night they decided on an alternate way to put their pet to rest.
Looking around, they saw the food delivery box and discovered that it was the perfect size to hold the rigor mortised body of their beloved kitty. But you can’t just leave a dead cat carcass in a box on the kitchen table. A little tape to secure the lid of the box and an old freezer on the front porch offered secure coverage from predators. They put the cat in the icebox where he still waits, hiding in plain sight.
Yes, on the front porch freezer of an old Victorian house in our sleepy, small town lies the body of a once vibrant pet. Makes you wonder how well you know your neighbors and what else could be hiding in plain sight. After all, I never once thought that a dead cat would be in a freezer on the front porch of an old house on Main Street that I drive by every day.
While trick or treating this year, remember: you never know what could be lurking around the corner or hiding in plain sight on a front porch.
Life is mysterious.